Losses and Aviation Safety

US Navy P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft reportedly assisted Ukrainians in hitting Russian Navy’s Black Sea flagship RTS Moskva (121)

The US Navy reportedly used one of its P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft to provide accurate targeting data to Ukrainian forces to sink the Russian Navy’s Black Sea flagship RTS Moskva (121).

The US Navy reportedly used one of its P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft to provide accurate targeting data to Ukrainian forces to sink the Russian Navy’s Black Sea flagship RTS Moskva (121) on Apr. 13, 2022, the Daily Mail says.

As already reported, Ukraine claimed it fired two Neptune missiles at the Russian warship which was patrolling south of Odesa. According to Navy Recognition, other sources speak of the Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that was used as a diversion.

Russia initially claimed the vessel, which had more than 500 crew on board had blown up after a fire onboard, but later the Kremlin was forced to admit the vessel had been taken out by hostile action.

Moskva sank as tugs attempted to tow the crippled warship back to Crimea for repairs.

According to The Times, a P-8 was tracking Moskva in the hours before it was attacked before supplying its location to the Ukrainian military.

‘Yes, that’s making a helluva lots of sense,’ our contributor and Helion & Company publisher’s editor Tom Cooper says.


‘For a very simple reason. Because situational awareness is 90% of modern warfare: if you know where’s your enemy, but the enemy doesn’t know where you are, you can hit and kill, the enemy cannot.

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. P-8A Poseidon Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX-1) Pioneers, JA955 / 167955. NAS Patuxent River, MD

‘Plus: Moskva was too far away to detect by the mass of radars in service with Ukraine. MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) as powerful as the P-8 was a perfect solution: it detected and tracked the target, and reported its position. That’s, after all, the essence of how the ‘job’ of this kind is usually done.’

The Times reports that the P-8 took off from Italy and took up station on the Romanian Black Sea coast where it attempted to locate the position of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

Since the invasion of Ukraine, a range of NATO surveillance platforms and drones have been monitoring Russian movements from the Polish coast, along the Ukrainian border and down to the Black Sea.

The Times says that the P-8 left US Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily on Apr. 13, hours before the attack. The Poseidon turned off its trackers, so it could no longer be followed online before reaching the Black Sea coastline.

The aircraft was ‘hidden’ for almost three hours before it returned to Flight Radar 24.

The US Navy refused to confirm if they assisted Ukraine with the attack by providing intelligence data.

‘In keeping with our support to NATO’s eastern flank, we have been conducting some limited air patrols off the coast of Romania. But we will not speak to the details of operational matters,’ a Defence source pointed out.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy and Reuters

A photo showing badly damaged Russian Navy RTS Moskva (121)
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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